Had quake occurred closer to nearby towns losses would have been far worse, says RMS
Following today’s earthquake near Market Rasen in rural Lincolnshire, Risk Management Solutions (RMS) has issued the following comments and analysis.
Initial damage reports from today’s earthquake near Market Rasen (population 3,200) in rural Lincolnshire have come from a wide area, including Grimsby, Cleethorpes, Goole, Bridlington and Barnsley. Shaking was felt over a large part of England, with minor tremors in central London.
“Fortunately, the earthquake’s epicentre appeared to be in a fairly rural part of Lincolnshire. Had it occurred closer to one of the nearby towns and cities where the populations are far larger, we could be looking at a very different situation in terms of the damage caused,” according to Dr. Andrew Sorby, model manager for Europe earthquake at RMS.
Lincoln (population 87,000) is around 13 miles to the south-west of the epicentre, and Grimsby and Cleethorpes (combined population around 139,000) are around 17 miles to the north-east. On average, earthquakes have been felt strongly in Lincolnshire every 200-300 years over the last 1,000 years, including in 1185 (when Lincoln Cathedral was badly damaged), 1343 and 1755.
“Had it occurred closer to one of the nearby towns and cities where the populations are far larger, we could be looking at a very different situation in terms of the damage caused.
Dr. Andrew Sorby, model manager for Europe earthquake at RMS
“In global terms, the UK is at relatively low risk of earthquakes, and only in extreme cases will buildings collapse and cause injuries and fatalities. But as residential properties are generally not designed to withstand shaking, even small earthquakes can cause damage by cracking walls and overtopping chimneys, for instance.’ said Dr Sorby.
“Many UK properties are of masonry construction, which makes them more prone to severe cracking during earthquakes compared to, say, timber-framed properties. The Folkestone earthquake last April was an example of this,” he added.
Earthquake insurance is included as standard in most homeowners and commercial business policies, so much of the damage caused by today’s event will be covered.